Those who regularly walk, jog or run on or near public roads typically need to make safety their top priority, as drivers often fail to monitor their surroundings appropriately.
Factors including the local speed limit, the impairment of a driver or the distraction of either party could increase the likelihood of a pedestrian crash occurring. However, when looking at federal statistics, there is one consistent factor that plays a role in almost three-quarters of all deadly pedestrian collisions.
Dark road conditions are a major pedestrian safety concern
According to the National Safety Council, 74% of all reported pedestrian fatalities in 2021 took place after dark. Some occurred in rural areas where there was no street lighting, but there were also many fatal collisions that occurred in urban areas with overhead illumination available. Both visibility and awareness likely contribute to these collisions. Dark road conditions mean that motorists will have a harder time observing their surroundings. Additionally, they are more likely to assume that there won’t be pedestrians nearby after dark, which means they won’t specifically watch for them. Many pedestrian crashes occur because drivers fail to look for and notice pedestrians in traffic.
How can pedestrians protect themselves?
Obviously, those who regularly walk or jog can’t just stay off the streets when the sun sets every day, especially if they need to walk to get to work during the colder months of the year when the days are shorter. Those who regularly travel on foot after dark or during transitional times may want to invest in safety gear that is either reflective or illuminated. Light-up safety vests and reflective clothing can draw the attention of motorists and decrease the likelihood that they will fail to spot a pedestrian on the road after dark.
Pedestrians may also want to familiarize themselves with their rights under the law, including the right to file an insurance claim if they get hurt by a motorist or the possibility of pursuing a personal after a major injury or a crash caused by someone without insurance. Ultimately, learning about the factors that contribute to pedestrian collisions may help people make safer choices while out on the road as well as choices about their legal options in the event of a crash.